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Saturday, November 08, 2003

VULF THE REPUBLICAN: DEAN FOREGOES PUBLIC FUNDING? WHO DOES HE THINK HE IS, "ME"? 

So, I see Mr. Dean thinks he can do without a bankrolled finance campaign (He'd be out of cash after finishing off Kerry and Clark, just like we'd want him to be). As a staunch Republican, I'd express outrage over Dean doing what our man "me" is doing, but I know all you simpering Democrats out there will continue to target Dean instead of me, so, hey, go to it. I've already raised $170 Million, and there's plenty more coming in April after all my friends get their HUGE tax refunds. I'll be laughing all the way to my next term. And wait'll you see my plans for the deficit then!

Wha-ha-ha-ha-ha!!!!! Suckers!

-President George W. Bush, King George II

VULF THE REPUBLICAN: IT'S NOT ABOUT THE IRAQI OIL 

All you Liberals out there keep snickering over how the Iraqi War is just about the Iraqi Oil. How simple-minded can you get? Do you see us actually shipping any? Do you think we've quietly acquiesced while the terrorists operating inside that Mother of all Terrorist nations simply cuts the supply (Oh, it's deliberate, all right)? Of course not! Everything's in our hands, it's all in control. We are letting them destroy the pipelines, because we don't want the oil to flow. Nice of them to use up some of their hidden WMDs to do it, too!

If we let the Iraqi oil flow, worldwide oil becomes a commodity and the price goes down. Just like any other--if temporarily--overabundant commodity. Guess what happens to our Texas and Gulf of Mexico oil prices? They go down, too. Now that's where we, including Baker and Bush (Among other ways) get our bread and butter. You think we want world oil prices stabilizing?

What happens if we spent $87 Billion on modifying crops in the Great Plains to produce fuel-grade ethanol in abundance (A technology that's been around in various forms for a decade!)? Why, then, there'd be no need for Texecutioner (152 "kills" while the Gov with love--same as a Schwarzenegger movie!) oil, now would there? So, you see, we need to simultaneously foment instability in the Middle East while earmarking any money that might otherwise go to alternative fuels into the conflict.

I know what you're thinking, conspiracy...with an emphasis on the last 6 letters of the word. Hardly. We are being as open as can be about it. You think the tax cuts on revenue the Government isn't generating is a mistake? Try to develop your alternative fuel infrastructure now, you Clinton-worshipping sack of crap!

All we need now is a permanent presence in the Middle East to continually destabilize the area, allowing us to make money off of both the overpriced oil and the Futures markets. Hmmm, let's pick someone we wouldn't allow in our country club, anyway. How 'bout them Jews? PERFECT.

See, it's not about the IRAQI oil. It's about the OIL, all right, but we aren't trying to tip the balance of trade for the U.S.A., just for ourselves. Now go away. After we put you on the front lines for a 6-month stint first, that is.

Friday, November 07, 2003

VULF THE REPUBLICAN 

For the next week, in the interest of fairness, Vulf switches sides and argues the Republican stance. It won't be pretty, it won't be warm and fuzzy, but from November 8 to November 14 it will be...Vulf the Republican Week.

Our Generation's Pearl Harbor? 

If 9/11 is our generation's Pearl Harbor, as the Wrong...er, Right...would have you believe, then we're sitting smack in the middle of the winter of 1944, comparatively-speaking. How do we rate? In World War II, we had virtually every nation outside of Central Europe on our side...now, we have mainly only nations in Central Europe on our side. In 1944, we had closed in on the home of most of the "terrorists" (Germany), and were preparing to help our Allies invade the Vaterland of the Terrorists. Now, we are buying oil from the home of most of the Terrorists (Saudi Arabia). Of course, the issue isn't black and white...both sets of "terrorists", Nazi and 9/11, hated Jews. And, now, we are letting a Jewish ally rather than a Russian one absorb many of the casualties in the "war against terrorism".

But, come on, the differences between 9/11 and Pearl Harbor couldn't be more compelling. The Japanese and Germans fought WW II for territory, for hegemony, for land (Lebensraum, or "living room", for Deutschland), and they needed oil (the disastrous Caucasus/Stalingrad campaign which overextended the Third Reich and ultimately cost them the war was a desperate bid for Caspian and Georgian oil). The US needs oil now. The Germans partnered with an Italian Fascist who had second thoughts about them on the eve of WWII. So did the US (Berlusconi). Clearly, murky ground on WHO is WHO here. So, if you want to make the WWII/Pearl Harbor analogies, please be careful about how far the analogy extends. It's about as far as I trust W.

-Vulf

Vulf's Weekend Quotes 

Saturday
Just when you think you've got it all figured out!...
Along comes some poor sap who has to listen to you!

Sunday
I take my friend Hal with me everywhere...
"Hal" being short for Halitosis, that is.

Monday
They say shoveling snow can be really hard on your heart, and boy are they right!
Last night, my neighbor came out in a tight-fitting, chartreuse jacket, with greasy hair flailing in the wind, continually scratching himself while snowblowing. Help me, I'm dyin' here!

TGIF Furball Sports Day 

Now for some lighthearted distractions, Mark passes the ball to his older bro' Dave for the weekly NFL picks. Printed in its entirety.

A Fan's Notes - Week 10

Mark Toft and Dave Toft

Reeling from Denver’s Monday night loss (and nostalgic for the days of primogeniture), our usual columnist has temporarily passed the propeller beanie of prognostication to his older brother Dave, a Vikings fan living in Poland. Look for Mark to report back as soon as he gathers the pieces of his shattered manhood and understands how he went 5-9 last week.


If you live in North America, you have no idea how fortunate you are to blow every fall Sunday as well as three major holidays watching football. I have been football-deprived--pro, college, high school, PeeWee, you name it--for five years now. German TV used to broadcast an NFL game of the week, but the main entertainment there was in the voice-over commentary: “Play-action, und der Quarterback wirft . . . und Interception!” or “Der Runningback ist getackelt.” (To translate football from German, you need to remember that the noun “interception” is capitalized and the verb at the end of the sentence goes.)

Given that I do not have the opportunity to watch any games, let alone review the hours of tape as my little brother does, I feel I am uniquely qualified to offer unbiased picks and a viewer’s guide for this column’s readers. Picks are in CAPS.


Viewer’s guide

Each game is rated from 1 to 5 belches to correspond to the extent of indigestion you would suffer by sitting in front of the television stuffing your face instead of enjoying a nice late fall day outside exercising. The more interesting the game, the higher the indigestion points, and the higher the number of belches.


5--No better way to spend a Sunday, and no better way to develop that duodenal ulcer. The exercise can wait.

4--Good game, provided you have beer and pretzels. You’ll get light exercise going to and from the fridge.

3--Not a bad game, but only if your partner gives you a back rub for at least ten minutes of every quarter. Moderate exercise will be achieved when you get up to see what the kids or the neighbors are up to.

2--You might watch a few snaps during commercial breaks of The Beastmaster (it must be airing somewhere on cable), starring Marc Singer, Tanya Roberts and--in a stirring portrayal of evil high-priest Maax--Rip Torn. Might be a good time to rake those leaves?

1--Slack-jawed troglodytes only. Racquetball anyone?

Summary of early games:
If you live on the West Coast, consider sleeping in. There’s no need to stir yourself for the mind-numbing experience of cliché bombardment from the commentators hosting these dull, unimportant games. If you live on the East Coast, give church a try, then adjourn for a long brunch somewhere that has no large-screen televisions.

ARIZONA CARDINALS at Pittsburgh Steelers (1 belch)
The ESPN message boards for this game are conspicuously empty. Arizona is “surging” after beating Cincy and Fran. In his first column, Mark likened Pittsburgh’s season to a swirling vortex. After this game, Pittsburgh will be saying hello to Moaning Myrtle at the U-bend of the plumbing.

Chicago Bears at DETROIT LIONS (2)
Just as insecure freshmen cling to their beers at their first college party, these two teams are nursing fragile win-streaks. Well, Chicago’s wins came against San Diego and, just two weeks ago, against Detroit. It’s hard to beat even a bad team twice in one season.

Houston Texans at CINCINNATI BENGALS (1)
In his ESPN press photo, Cincinnati head coach Marvin Lewis resembles Bill Cosby. I like the Coz and think he’d find a way to win this game. Rather than the game, I would rather watch the Cosby Show rerun in which the Coz forces Theo to wear the poorly tailored designer shirt (a “Gordon Gartrell” knockoff) that Vanessa has made for him.

Miami Dolphins at TENNESSEE TITANS (4)
Tennessee is ascending, healthy and coming off a bye week. Miami’s pass defense will finally make McNair earn his win, while Denver cast-off Brian Griese will guide his father’s former team to . . . defeat.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers at CAROLINA PANTHERS (4)
Last time these teams met, Grampa Bay imploded with 168 penalty yards, kicker Martin Gramatica was stuffed on an extra-point attempt, and Carolina won in overtime. Tampa is looking as bipolar as they did in their Tony Dungy days (not that it was Tony’s fault) and has alternated wins and losses since their season-opening victory against Philly. This should be the Bucs’ week to win, but they will instead demonstrate their ability to shank the big one by losing two in a row.

Atlanta Falcons at NEW YORK GIANTS (2)
The Giants keep beating my favorite team--the Vikings--including two weeks ago and the utter humiliation (41 to douche bag) in the NFC Championship game a few years back. Meanwhile, Atlanta is calling faith healers from Eastern Europe to try to get Michael Vick ready to play. Atlanta has curried my ire since week five, when quarterback Doug Johnson stated that the Vikings were not as good as Atlanta and that better teams should beat their inferiors. No kidding.

CLEVELAND BROWNS at Kansas City Chiefs (3)
Will KC continue its unbeaten streak? Quite likely. But the games in Cincy and San Diego later this month have jinx written all over them. Maybe KC should just get the loss out of the way this week against a more respectable team? Because they will not be 12-0 going into week 14 when they face the Broncos. That’s not a prediction, it’s fact and anyone who has ever cheered on a favorite undefeated team knows KC is headed for doom. Face it, KC fans: the roulette wheel has hit red the last eight spins. Time for the double zero.

INDIANAPOLIS COLTS at Jacksonville Jaguars (3)
The rest of the season looks grim for the endangered Jags. After this week, they can update their Gantt charts to show another milestone achieved on the way to the first pick in next year’s draft. If only they had lost to San Diego! And how will they navigate their ship onto the rocks in the final game of the season against the wingless Falcons? Indianapolis, on the other hand, must be due for a humiliating upset soon. Just not this week.

SEATTLE SEAHAWKS at Washington Redskins (3)
Expect Washington’s Fun-N-Gun offense to chunder and hurl like a toddler on ipecac again this week. This game will be a mere speed bump for Holmgren and his Hawks as they continue to cruise along in first place in their division (look for them to sputter and fail late in the season). On a positive note, the Hawks will not blow their shot at a wild card: the other teams in the conference are just too weak. The Redskins, however, after this rending loss, should consider changing their name to the Posturing Catamites.

Summary of late games:
Cataclysmic boredom. When will the NCAA announce Bowl matchups?

Buffalo Bills at DALLAS COWBOYS (1)
I would really like to pick Buffalo against the rectally challenged (read: anal-retentive) Sowboys. I have loathed “America’s Team” for years, especially since I had no alternative but to watch the insufferable asswipes every Sunday during my youth. Sure, Dallas has not beaten a solid team this season. Then again, Buffalo is not a solid team. I’ll have to exact my revenge on Dallas with a low game-rating.

MINNESOTA VIKINGS at San Diego Chargers (3)
I have followed the Vikings--mere shadows of the plunderers after whom they are named--through thin and thinner since before most of today’s players were born. In 1983 I even had a T-shirt made with the following bold prediction: “Minnesota Vikings 1987 Super Bowl Champs.” They did not win, nor have they ever--and I wonder if they ever will, given their tendency to fold like a paper napkin around this time of the season. While lesser teams have occasionally posted impressive records (12-4 or better), the Vikes once went 15-1 before quivering at the feet of the worthless Falcons. Still, on this particular Sunday, they won’t lose to the Chargers, a team I suspect has given up and now just wants our pity.

NEW YORK JETS at Oakland Raiders (2)
It is apt that this game is being played in “the black hole,” as the Oakland Coliseum is known, because no photons of hope are escaping to brighten either team’s season. Chuck Woodson finally snapped from Oakland coach Bill Callahan’s egocentric approach and disdain for veterans’ opinions. (I am reminded of Mike Ditka’s dire prediction of his team “not winning another football game.”) The good chemistry is gone, and now Oakland’s own players are adding water to acid. The Jets are a rancid concoction as well and function like flaccid pudenda.

BALTIMORE RAVENS at St. Louis Rams (4)
Strange, but for one of the more interesting matchups of the week I can find nothing to say.

Philadelphia Eagles at GREEN BAY PACKERS on Monday Night Football (3)
Donovan McNabb finally performed well last week in Atlanta; yet a game against the Falcons can’t provide proper calibration of a truly fine performance. Favre’s troubles with his thumb mean that Green Bay is likely to repeat the ground-game strategy that proved effective against Minnesota.

Those in repose: Denver, New England, New Orleans, San Francisco.

Mark’s mosh pit:
I’m too embarrassed by last week’s effort to talk any smack. I humbly offer the following suggestions: Pittsburgh, Detroit, Cincy, Tennessee, Tampa Bay, Dallas, St. Louis, New York Giants, KC, Indy, Seattle, Minnesota, New York Jets, Green Bay.

Last week: 5-9. Season: 83-47.


The Amazing Senator Byrd 

This guy could make a grocery list a good speech.

A High Price for a Hollow Victory

Here's some excerpts:

Describes the pResident's approach to governance.
Perhaps this take-no-prisoners approach is how the President and his advisers define victory, but I fear they are fixated on the muscle of the politics instead of the wisdom of the policy.

Mocks the pResidents empty bravado.
When President Bush uttered the unwise challenge, "Bring 'em on" on July 2, the enemy did indeed "bring them on", and with a vengeance! Since the President made that comment, more than 165 American soldiers have been killed in Iraq. And as the death toll mounts, it has become clear that the enemy intends to keep on "bringing 'em on."

Explains what "supporting our troops" really means.
It has been said many times on the floor of this Senate that a vote for this supplemental is a vote for our troops in Iraq. The implication is that a vote against the supplemental is a vote against our troops. I find that twisted logic to be both irrational and offensive. To my mind, backing a flawed policy with a flawed appropriations bill hurts our troops in Iraq more than it helps them. Endorsing and funding a policy that does nothing to relieve American troops in Iraq is not, in my opinion, a "support the troops" measure.

Says in a nice way, what the f*&@ is going on!
But it is time - past time - for the President to tell the American people exactly what that mission is, how he intends to accomplish it, and what his exit strategy is for American troops in Iraq.

$87 won't solve the problem.
The $87 billion in this appropriations bill provides the wherewithal for the United States to stay the course in Iraq when what we badly need is a course correction.

A statement of fact masquerading as a question.
Could it be that the President's supporters in Congress would rather blindly follow the President instead of risking reality by opening their eyes to what could be uncomfortable facts?

Translation, Bush is a thug.
It is one thing to win, and the tactics be damned; it is quite another to be victorious. Victory implies doing what is right; doing what is right implies morality; morality implies standards of conduct. I do not include arm-twisting and intimidation in my definition of exemplary standards of conduct.

A simple history lession, of course, wasted on our pResident Idiot.
Moreover, we should not forget that not all victories are created equal. In 280 BC, Pyrrhus, the ruler of Epirus in Northern Greece, took his formidable armies to Italy and defeated the Romans at Heraclea, and again at Asculum in 279 BC, but suffered
unbearably heavy losses. "One more such victory and I am lost," he said.

It is to Pyrrhus that we owe the term "pyrrhic victory," to describe a victory so costly as to be ruinous. This supplemental, and the policy which it supports, unfortunately, may prove to be a pyrrhic victory for the Bush Administration.


Cue the applause.
Victory is not always about winning. Sometimes, victory is simply about being right. This conference report does not reflect the right policy for Iraq or the right policy for America. I oppose it and I will vote No on final passage.

- Lupus & Okami

pResident Bush, Emperor Xerxes Redux 

Emperor Xerxes and George w. Bush: Imperial Deja Vu

link via The Left Coaster

-Lupus

"Sophie's Choice" Republican Style 

This is from the "Family Values" wing of the Republican Party. An Army medic faced a "Sophie's Choice" of her own when she returned on emergency leave from Iraq for child custody hearings initiated by her husband's ex-wife for their two children. The family law judge ruled one of the parents had to stay to retain custody, but staying meant going AWOL. The mother chose to go AWOL for her kids.

Simone Holcomb"s choice was between duty and family. She chose family, and now the military may punish her.

While the situation still may work out for her and her family, the initial reaction by the Army demonstrated Bush's priorities: Iraq first!(Oil?)

- Lupus

My condolences Wilk 

It seems the war has finally touched Poland. Sigh!

6 soldiers die in Iraq helicopter crash

In addition, two American civilians working for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and a Polish officer died in attacks over the past seven days.

-Lupus

Thursday, November 06, 2003

Confederate Flag Flap 

I think it's appropriate to leave the last word to the man himself, Gov. Dean:

"You can blame the media or blame my opponents, but the fact is, I've got to own my own words," Dr. Dean explained yesterday evening in Manchester. "And that's what I decided at about 3 o'clock this morning."

Here's something we always need to keep in mind:

The Bush administration has messed up the occupation of Iraq. The federal bench is being seeded with Bush-appointed reactionaries. The fight against abortion has become a fight against common sense, and little is being done to regulate corporate greed. Yet the Democratic presidential candidates spend their time squabbling about a Confederate flag decal, absurdly letting Al Sharpton function as the party's conscience.

-snip-

One of the things a good golf coach will teach you is that you always need to keep your eye on the ball. We Dems need to decide what is the ball. The fate of the Republic is at stake in this election.


-Lupus




Wingnut Debate Dictionary  

Here's a hilarious compilation of newly defined political terms to describe the ways the right wing tries to sabatoge the debate.

Here are some of my favorites:

acoulteration : providing outward trappings of evidence in order to acculturate viewers to believe obvious lies.

Awolunteer (v): To posture, for example thru the use of body language, bold statements and proclamations, or the use of costumes and special effects, that one is serving or a part of a noble cause, when in fact one wants to have nothing to do with the cause in question. See also: chickenhawk. Also, of course, Awolunteer (n): one who merely awolunteers when the going gets tough, leaving others to pick up the pieces.

Cheney's razor (n): a philosophic rule that the most complex explanation of an unknown phenomenon is probably correct.

limbaughcrisy: loudly denouncing 'degenerate' and illegal behavior, which one nevertheless secretly practices.

Occam's Pretzel (n): The logical fallacy of attempting to deduce the policy of the Bush administration by assuming that Bush makes the decisions. see Cheney's razor

One of my favorites:
Stepford Democrat (n.): Term used for political hack who is Democratic in name, but relentlessly supports the GOP (if a Republican is President) or pushes a corporate and culturally conservative agenda (if a Democrat is President). The Stepford Dem is differentiated from its more agressive, openly right-wing brethren (see: Zellouts, etc.) by its touchy-feely rhetoric (eg: "I feel your pain!") and its pretense of being genuinely sorry that it has to abandon its traditional constituency & support its enemies because of "pragmatism", "political reality", "the need to compromise", etc. A curious byproduct of this species is that its constant caving-in and appeasement does not, in fact, please its enemies, but usually makes them more psychopathically angry & all the more eager to hurt & humiliate their targets, which in turn, prompts the Stepford Dem to become ever more craven and subservient in its efforts to grovel before those who openly express their wish to destroy them. See also DLC. For the UK version, see Tony Blair, New Labour.

- Lupus

Crimes against Community: Re Wal-Mart 

Well, just when you thought I couldn't document any more Wal-Mart outrages, the chain obliges me with one more. An ordinance passed limiting the size of "big- box'' stores in unincorporated areas of Contra Costa County, in the San Francisco Bay Area. Wal-Mart is, of course, fighting this law. In order to fight this law Wal-Mart is recruiting workers for its PR campaign at $10 an hour when the median wage at Wal-Mart is $8 an hour. What is the real effect of this plan:

Wal-Mart [is paying] higher wages to those campaigning to keep [its store workers] wages low.

I think this action by Wal-Mart lends further credibility to the Universal Acid post by Vulf.

-Lupus

Wednesday, November 05, 2003

Universal Acid 

Much as I love to disagree with Lupus, I can find no argument in his Wal-Mart blog!...Lupus, your comments on Wal-Mart would be funny but for the fact that all of it is true.

Wal-Mart has surely been one of the strongest forces behind the widening disparity in rich and poor income and wealth in the past decade. The fact that 5 of the 11 richest people in the world are the Waltons in Wal-Mart should clue you in first. The fact that they pay their workers pretty much the median per-person income in the country (I'm being generous here--it's 15% lower than that and some of them have dependents) is your second clue. A monster, Wal-Mart has tapped into the "bully by buying power" rape that any supply chain manager can tell you about. Might makes right. What is left for Wal-Mart after they've reduced their workers to people too poor to buy even their discounted crap? Can you say "Company Scrip?" Can you say indentured servant who can't purchase anything anywhere else? Where do they expect their next yacht to come from? You need an engineer, an architect, a manufacturing infrastructure to build those. The Waltons would rather be Kings of Crap than Captains of the Future. BOYCOTT them--never set foot in a Wal-Mart again while there is still time to break this cycle.

Universal acid? I refer to things that, once you realize they exist, you suddenly realize that they cut through EVERYTHING. Evolution, Darwin's sledgehammer blow to conservatives everywhere, was the greatest universal acid ever, as Dennett noted in Darwin's Dangerous Idea. Once you realize that evolution could occur (regardless of how it actually leads to species change), you find it in everything. In politics, in religion, in your intellect, in your relationships, in your tastes, your friends--everything. It is universal acid, because everything evolves, and Darwin opened up the universe to the scientific method and the true liberalism--that of a knowledge-seeker and open-minded learner. Someone who embraces, not fears, change.

The disparity between wealth and poverty is another such universal acid. Once you realize that this disparity is not accidental (as you would expect in a true free market due to inequity of talent), but rather nurtured, protected and unnatural, you will see it in everything. Does a free market system build up an aristocracy through the elimination of Inheritance Tax? Probably not. See, we don't have a free market system in the US. We have an aristocracy, we have a system more and more set up to funnel money from the lower and middle classes into the pockets of the aristocracy. We have, in short, a kleptocracy. It's universal acid. The Wal-Mart FACTS that Lupus states make no sense until you realize that Wal-Mart is simply one large funnel to extract money from the non-aristocrats into the hands of the greedy few. It doesn't help taxes, it doesn't save cities money, it just creates a few more BILLIONAIRES to hang with "W". It's universal acid, baby, and it's burning you. WAKE UP.

-Vulf

Wal-Mart: Low prices, at big cost 

Al Lewis hits the nail on the head in regards to Wal-Mart. The above title is his. What do Wal-Mart's low prices provide?
*Low quality.
*[E]verywhere Wal-Mart puts a supercenter, it will put two neighboring groceries out of business - plus myriad mom-and-pops.
*The average Wal-Mart clerk makes less than $14,000 a year.
*And Wal-Mart employees routinely sue the company for unfair practices, including not paying overtime.
*Wal-Mart encourages U.S. manufacturers to tap cheaper labor abroad.
*Academic studies have debunked the notion that new big-box store boosts employment and sales and property tax increases.
*Wal-Mart systemaitically denies women equal pay and opportunities for promotion.
*Wal-Mart often extracts tax breaks.
*Hired janitorial firms staffed by meagerly paid, benefit-denied, illegal immigrants.
* Wal-Mart workers must often turn to food stamps, apply for the federal government's Earned Income Tax Credit and turn to states for child support payments.
*Nearly 700,000 Wal-Mart workers are forced to get health insurance from government or through spouses' plans, driving up health costs for all of us.
*Wal-Mart gets to "sell for less" because it shifts the costs to all taxpayers.

Oakland finally turned its back on Wal-Mart. The hidden social cost associated with Wal-Mart was too much for the Oakland city council to bear.

Denver's getting ready to extend $10 million in tax breaks to Wal-Mart for a hoped for $12.2 million payoff by 2016. Even with all the problems above, the $12 million dollars represents a Net Present Value around $7 million(assuming $1 million of revenue each year starting with 2004 with an inflation rate around 3%). Unfortunately, Wal-Mart has left the Denver with two choices: Give Wal-Mart the tax incentive or let Alameda Square rot.

Personally, I think the $10 million can be put to better use than extortion.

-Lupus




Tuesday, November 04, 2003

Race, gender, sexual-orientation, abortion...FIGHTING SYMPTOMS! 

OK, I promised a thesis on why 2003 USA is 1788 France, as Yogi Berra would say, "Deja vu all over again". Lupus' full exoneration of Dean, the only viable alternative to the Fascists (that is, corporatists) has raised the race issue. Race, like many other issues, as I will clarify here, is a symptom and nothing more, of the real division in our society: CLASSISM.

{{[HISTORICAL ASIDE]: Please note that Bush and his ilk are not Nazis. The Nazis combined nationalism (essentially fascism) with a long history of democratic socialism that itself described maybe a third of Germans for a hundred years (many of them moved to Milwaukee, in fact, so it should be no surprise that Milwaukee was the largest US city with a socialist mayor). Is Nazism actually better than "W"'s form of Fascism? Well, except for that matter of racial extermination...we must be fair here, "W" hopes to get everyone's cash without extermination--I think}}

What is a class? A class is, generally speaking, a societal division set up for the economic advantage of a few at the expense of many. Is it also a caste system? In some ways, yes, especially considering that generally speaking, traditionally the higher the caste the whiter the skin in the Indian caste model. But the class system in the US is more subtle. Those who can think scientifically and for whom the scientific method is internalized are the enemy of the current administration. [Kudos to my good buddy, J, for a fabulous discussion around this correlation]. Yet these people are essential to the current administration precisely because the world (and "W"'s little war) relies on technology. But they see through "W". So they have to be kept engaged but unempowered. Can they be bribed? Yes, some of them, and the corporate environment is precisely geared to bribing these folks (For example, Patent awards). But not all of them. Some, like Lupus and I, will accept that they are trying to bribe us, take their money, and put it to use in breaking down the walls. Or so we like to think. :)

Now, is race a class? No, Colin Powell and the odious Clarence Thomas prove that money and power are more important than race. More and ditto for Condoleezza (I'm nasty too!). But it sure is a convenient way of getting people to fight over the symptoms. What if, as Dean suggests, southern whites realized the southern blacks aren't keeping them from being better off, but "W" and the class structure of wealth? Why, then, poor "W" would be outnumbered 49 to 1, wouldn't he? (remember we reported earlier how 2% of Americans own 50% of the wealth?). Quick, "W"--or shall we call you the Texecutioner?--you must come up with some other faux divisions in society. Here's a few to help you, if race, gender, sexual habits, religion, political party, etc. aren't enough:

(1) People making less than $16,000 per family member per year! Yes, that's 50% of us, Mr. President. Hard to imagine getting by on $16k a week to your circle of jerks, but the average American gets by on that much PER YEAR.
Oh, sorry, that's not a symptom, is it?

(2) People picking their nose more than 2% of their waking hours (It's 15% in some primates! :) maybe...). Let's see a platform on nose-picking, that should be a juicy one!

(3) People who can be persuaded that an uneducated fan of state-run executions (be careful what you wish for, isn't that what the guillotine was?) should be president. No, wait, we saw in 2000 that less than 50% of folks will vote for that!

Let's clear our eyes of the smokescreens that have clouded them for too long! We are all in this together. Tax breaks make no sense when the money isn't there. It doesn't trickle down, it just moves the line of poverty up. Unless you are making more than several million dollars per year, you are going to pay for the tax breaks, for the Iraq "war", and for Bush's overpriced oil (compared to ethanol, Saudi oil, etc.). Recognize that this is a class war, before you blame somebody with different skin tone, with a different gender, a different faith, whatever. It's ALL ABOUT MONEY, and once you realize this, you can ignore the symptoms and get to the disease.

As for Bush and his cronies, with the astronomically increasing income and wealth disparity, the piling body counts in the Middle East, and the dawning awareness that we have an aristocratic class in our country, well if I were he I'd be reading a little more Voltaire and a little less Vogue.

-Vulf

Dean's Words in Context 

I viewed Dean's "Confederate Flag" comments as a clumsy move on his part because he assumed context were there was none. This is not to say his remarks were improper. My familiarity with his earlier remarks on the subject gave me the context to understand what he was really trying to say. Here via Liberal Oasis is Dean's remarks from February providing the full context behind his comments this weekend:

I thought that one of the most despicable moments of this president's administration was three weeks ago, when on national prime-time television, he used the word "quota'' seven times.

The University of Michigan does not now have quotas. It has never had quotas.

Quotas is a race-loaded word, designed to appeal to people's fears of losing their jobs.

I intend to talk about race in this election in the south because the Republicans have been talking about it since 1968 in order to divide us.

And I'm going to bring us together, because you know what?

White folks in the south who drive pickups trucks with confederate flags decals in the back ought to be voting with us and not them, because their kids don't have health insurance either and their kids need better schools too.


Dean discusses his approach to race in a C-Span interview on Oct. 26:

I talk about race in the South in a way that I think makes white voters nervous, because they’re not accustomed to being direct about race in the South.

[But] what I say is to white voters in the South: you’ve voted for Republicans for 30 years. Tell me what you have to show for it.

There’s 130,000 children with no health insurance in South Carolina. Most of those kids are white.

…the legislature just cut 70 million dollars out of the public school system. Most of the kids that go to the public school system are white.

Have you lost your job? Has it gone overseas?…The answer is yes in a lot of places.

And if that’s the case, maybe you should think about voting Democratic again…

…The Democrats have to speak openly and frankly about racial matters in this county, otherwise we’re going to continue to go uphill in the South…

…the question is: can we be direct about an issue that we got to put aside, ultimately, in this country?

And if we’re not direct about it, I don’t think we ever address the issue properly and we never put it aside


-Lupus


What the war is really about! 

While everyone focused on Conservative Columnist Kathleen Parker's latest column where she reprinted a portion of a letter whose author felt the Democratic candidates should be:

"lined up and shot.",

they tended to skip over the columns true revelations.

In an rare display of candor, Kathleen Parker outlines the reasons behind the war:

1) Saddam's refusal to abide by U.N. resolutions.
2) Necessary as a response to Sept. 11, even absent a group hug between al-Qaida and the Saddamites.
3) [B]ecause we could.
4) To deliver a message to Arab-Muslim terrorist world. (What message is open to debate.)

That's right, petty revenge, nothing more.

-Lupus

Vulf's MidWeek Quotes of the Day... 

Tuesday
Runner-up, world's most egocentric comment: "Gosh, I wish I could just be more like...me!"

Wednesday
Schizophrenics can never go through the express line at the psychiatrist's office.

Thursday
Languages are so different. For example, in most tribal languages in the Congo, the Amazon and New Guinea, there is no expression for "Three-dimensional distributed network-based dynamic image processing."

Friday
I spent a summer at an archeological dig. Kinda boring, although there was quite a furor when Professor Fortey dug up the chicken bones I'd buried from the week before's roast.

BONUS quote
My friend, Pete, the barber, also does lobotomies. Brings a whole new meaning to "A little off in front, please".

Clarification 

My Post ABB & Dean should not be confused with Las Vegas act ABBA & Dean.

-Lupus

Monday, November 03, 2003

Respectfully disagree... 

Re Dean's comments on the south, I think it was well-executed. If EVEN the confederate flag waving southerners, who are distinct from those who no longer wave them, are important to the Democratic party, this is a bigger statement than just saying "southern whites". It is inclusion by hyperbole, and the success of his statement is the fact that the rest of the Democratic field finds more fault with Dean than Bush...in other words, Dean has already beaten them. Time to aim for Bush and his support network. Now, to show even those folks how they're better off without Bush...not so hard a job to do.

-Vulf

ABB & Dean 

Lobo and Vulf recently posted on the "Latest Dean Flap." My opinion of the situation matches Hesiod of Counterspin:

Once again, nice idea, but poor execution.

Which is to say, Dean is no racist. None of the Democratic candidates are. pResident Bush is sooo bad that any of the candidates represents a marked improvement over him. I will only criticize candidates When they do anything to strengthen the Republican party, i.e. Texas State Senator Whitmore who gave the Texas Senate the quorum necessary to pass the redistricting bill, California Bill Lockyer who criticized both Governor Davis and Lt. Governor Bustamante while voting for the Arnis, and Georgia DINO Senator Zell Miller who recently endorsed pResident Bush for reelection.

So who do I endorse? It's very easy, Anybody, But, Bush!

-Lupus

Sunday, November 02, 2003

Casualty rate escalating... 

As I pointed out grimly last month, the true measure of "success" in Iraq is the casualty rate. Given today's horrendous news (At least 18 killed in the last 24 hours), we see that indeed the casualty rate is going UP, not down, and in fact is now at levels not seen since the first week of combat in March. It's going to get worse before it gets better.

-Vulf

Dean Done WAY Wrong by Lobo 

If even the right-winged Washington Post, putting Dean's comments into proper context, has a more even-handed report on what Dean did (and didn't) say, no wonder the "left" is so fragmented. Dean stereotyped a large section of white southerners as folks with Confederate flags on their trucks. If this was a slam on anyone, it was southern whites. But Dean's comments meant that he wanted their support, too; i.e. working together is better than excluding large groups. He made these comments back in February, as well, to applause, because it was interpreted as a unity message. Speaking to folks in Iowa (I lived in Iowa for several years, so there is some experience speaking here), Dean simply--maybe too simply--appealed to a depiction of southern whites (sponsored in no small parts by recent films such as Sweet Home Alabama) that was easy to convey in a few words to Iowans with whom they don't share a lot of "common" ground. Most Iowans picture southern whites as hicks, as uncouth and/or riding around in trucks with a shameful flag waving.

As Lupus pointed out last week, part of the failure of the Democratic party is in not being able to capture the attention of people with anecdotes and flavor. Dean's statement shows he is not one such Democrat--maybe too much flavor in this case, but come on, this is not a message for racism. Are some of the folks waving Confederate flags racists or bigots? Without a doubt. Are most of them? Not likely. Are the folks waving Mexican flags in San Juan Valley, southern Colorado, racists? Not likely either. They are trying to identify with something they think makes them special, different, etc. Do the folks in the south waving Confederate flags need to grow up? Without a doubt. But Dean's statement was a simple acknowledgment that there is a large such block of voters, and getting them to vote Democrat might be a logical first step [in their education]. Why not look at how "well" every Democrat save Clinton has done in the south since LBJ's bold signature for Civil Rights was tendered in the mid-'60's? Don't forget, the Democrats lost the 2000 election because of the south.

-Vulf

Dean Done Wrong 

The Associated Press reports that front-running Democratic presedential hopefulls lambasted Dean, and deservedly so, for his statements related to the confederate flags and Southern voters.

Apparently Dean is now courting Southerners with confederate flags on their pickup trucks. His rationale is that these good 'ol boys are people too (a.k.a. voters) and they used to vote as Democrats.

Leadership lesson #1 - unite people behind a shared vision.
The Democratic party already has an identity and a large part of it involves a general desire to support the civil rights of all people. Soliciting votes from people who disagree with this concept of civil rights is a "disconnect" (a.k.a., brain fart).

--LOBO

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